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SurlyFest | Surly Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with three different types of Rye and a single variety of American Hops. Malted Rye, Flaked Rye, and Crystal Rye impart a distinctive biscuit flavor to the lush Vienna Malt body, and dry-hopping with Sterling Hops adds bright, floral hop aromas.

Added by feloniousmonk on 09-03-2006

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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 889
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Ultra-hazy amber, almost opaque. The head retention is great.

Smell - The hop aroma is huge and immediately noticeable upon cracking open the can. It lends a ripe, zesty grapefruit character to the nose, with a slight bready note from the rye present underneath.

Taste and mouthfeel - The taste is quite a contrast from the aroma. Very up-front rye, bready and dry. A touch of malty sweetness appears briefly, providing a touch of balance before the tangy, citrus-flavored hops take over the finish. Mouthfeel is decidedly full for a lager, with a coating hoppy bitterness remaining on the palate.

Notes - Never thought I'd try a dry-hopped rye Octoberfest lager. Very creative stuff, and more importantly, quite good.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Tolann for this brew.

Pours a nice hazy golden brown color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger plus off-white creamy head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is malty, hoppy, nice touch of the rye (bitter), and some caramel. The taste is malty/hoppy, nice touch of rye (bitterness), and some caramel. Medium body. This brew is pretty dry and bitter on the finish, very tasty though. Very drinkable, really like this one, highly recommended. Thanks Megan.

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Photo of Tolann
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this hidden in my stash. Poured my 'half' into a whisky snifter and shared the rest with DH who had his poured into a pint glass.

A- a white light head on top of amber waves of grain...
Leaves a thick,heavy lacing on the glass.

S- sweet and almost minty. What did DH use to rinse this glass,toothpaste? Sweet and kinda citrusy

T- kind of sweet, tho I rarely drink lagers. Kinda dead on taste considering other Surlys. Probably a good shot at a non-traditional Oktober-fest lager. Surly does nothing 'traditionally'

M- light but not crisp. Almost a medium body. Lots of malt and citrus

D- Very easy to put back. Could be a very sessionable beer if it were more available.

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Photo of Scoobydank
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L:A very light brown color. A birght white frothy head.
S:Slight grapefruit hoppiness with big caramel sweetness.
T:Big roasted nutty caramel. What sets this one aside though is what comes next. Deciscious grapefruit hop on the back palat.
M:Thick big round bubbles for a syrupy consistency.
D:Best example of a Octoberfest beer that I can think of. Definitely a Surly twist using those hops to round out this beer. I wish more Octoberfest beers used hops like this.

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Photo of flexabull
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great looking can courtesy of leftmindedrighty, thanks YET again!

Pours a bright gold color with a big off white head. Looks great.

Nice nose, creamy malts, tea like, with some really obvious hop aromas, mostly resin and pine. Smells great.

Taste is dry and biscuit like. Some cereal grain flavors, bright and crisp tea like qualities, and a hint of rye. Finish is biting, with an earthy like hoppiness and some spicy yeast flavors. This is a complex tasting beer.

Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, very nice.

Drinkability is great, this is extremely sessionable. A very interesting and tasty take on the Oktoberfest / Rye Beer styles. I really like it, and would make this a staple in the fridge and "in" the outdoors if this was available here. Well worth a try.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another amazing beer courtesy of tpd975, thanks for hookin' me up!

16 oz. can poured perfectly into a nonic.

Pours a somewhat foggy rich copper hue with a generous two finger off-white head that has no intentions of leaving. Beautiful lacing left behind on the sides of the glass. Smell is of crisp rye up front with a subtle fresh citric hop scent. Nice caramel malt with a bit of a metallic aroma as well. Some dirty earth hops find their way in the nose too. Wow, what a perfect blend of hops and malt on the tongue. Sweet grapefruit hops balance with a creamy caramel malt. The crisp rye gives a fresh zing in the mouth. A spicy pepper sting finds it's way in the mouth as well. Aftertaste is an interesting combination of toasted nut and pine hops, niiice. Fluffy light to medium body with a full carbonation. This doesn't exactly fit into the "traditional" fest beers, but that's why I like it. Definitely a nice change of pace during the Oktoberfest season, especially for hop lovers. Line 'em up, I'll put 'em down...scary good drinkability. What a great beer experience. I would take this beer over Furious anyday.

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Photo of timbro81
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big props must go out to PitMonkey on this one. Pours a glorious deep amber orange that has almost perfect clarity. Head is of the standard varity, one finger, fluffy, fades in a few minutes. The rye grains dominate the nose with the hops coming in at a close second. Good dose of dry hopping. Its hard to tell if I'm picking up a metallic smell or if it is the rye grains that I am not used to, either way it doesn't distract from the overall sensation. The taste has a great complexity. Again with the rye and the hops and a clean smooth mouthfeel. A superb interpratation of a hop heads Oktoberfest. Drink this beer.

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Photo of Lothore
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep orange hue with a small but sustainable eggshell head.

S- Smells of fragrant hops, malty sweetness.

T- Taste is incredible. Spicy, malty, nutty, typical oktoberfest beer on steroids.

M- Medium viscosity, light on the carbonation.

D- This is extremely drinkable. I could easily drink these until I passed out from the alcohol and deliciousness.

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Photo of alexgash
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful blue and white checkered, 16-oz. can. Deep gold-edged copper body with a clingy, tight, centimeter of light khaki head. Fresh, fragrant, floral and resinous hop nose with a solid malt backing (spice cake, caramel, and bread). Toasted malt and noble hop bitterness festively greet the tongue. Flash of caramel and spicy (rye?) cookie dough with cooked veggie undertones. Herbal, noble, resinous hop bitterness comes on strong in the finish and lasts a delicious while. Tastes like a rye-infused, hoppy Ofest to me! Medium body with lively, even carbonation. Another great Surly brew.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Despite being around for a couple years, I still can't quite help getting a kick out of it every time I pop the tab of a canned craft-brew. The beer pours with a lightly hazy, reddish amber color and is topped by a frothy, initially two-finger thick, light tan colored, textured head that is creamy enough to leave a layered lacing pattern on the sides of my glass as I slowly consume the beer. Spicy notes of grain and hop mix wonderfully in the aroma; slightly grassy, definite earthy rye spice aromatics as well as an herbal, candied lemon zest & currant hop character. Toasty malt notes and a touch of caramelized grain sugars enter in towards the finished spurring the imagination towards thoughts of brown sugar crusted, marmalade coated, toasted, organic, artisinal bread that has been crushed into an aromatic powder. Quite an interesting aroma; very enticing, entirely engaging and hearty enough to be a harvest time tipple.

Well carbonated, which combines with a sharp hop character that is both herb focused and lemon zest like. Grassy hop notes combine with a soft, yet gripping, bitterness in the finish. The rye does not add a whole lot to the flavor, but does seem to contribute a grassy slightly spicy note that lingers long after a sip has past down my throat. The rye does seem to contribute to the body of the brew as this has a definite viscous heft to it without being cloying. Grassy flavors, touches of currants and a certain menthol like note all seem to be part of the hop profile.

The grassy hop character seems to grow a bit as the beer warms up a bit, coupled with a sort of pine / menthol note (but not in the typical American hop way), this becomes the dominant, though not quite defining, characteristic of this brew. If you hadn't guessed this really is quite hoppy, definitely a hop dominated brew; sort of like a cross between an IPA and a malty Oktoberfest. Quite tasty, a really enjoyable brew and I am glad they did not brew another typical Oktoberfest (while I do enjoy a well crafted traditional one, truly great ones are few and far between). Perhaps my only complaint is that the hops get in the way of really noticing the rye character.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am enjoying this can courtesy of Leftmindedrighty. He brought it to my house for a recent tasting and we never got to it. But now I did. ;-)

Pours a slightly cloudy amber color with a nice off-white head. Loads of lacing on the glass. Just how I like it.

The aroma is a nice blend of hops and rye. A little sweet, a little grassy, a little roasty.

The flavor is heads above pretty much any rye beer I have ever had. Sweet roasted rye, citric hops, caramel, a bit nutty. Very tasty. I never would have made it home if my local Oktoberfest had this one.

Solid feel to it. Medium body. Extremely drinkable. Goes down easy....and fast. I truly believe Surly needs to have an East Coast brewery contract brew for them. Dogfish Head, perhaps? Man, that would be freakin' awesome. Another fabulous beer from Surly.

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Photo of Graham21
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice bubbly frothy tan head 2 mm thick. Amber in appearance with sediment lingereing. Smells very hoppy, small amounts of bready yeast. Pretty hoppy for an Oktoberfest, grapefruit comes through slightly. SurlyFest is better than average but not amazing. Body is dry and lacking.

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Photo of tpd975
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me get ahead of myself here. Best damn Octoberfest brew in the world. Period...Point Blank.

Moving On!

A: Pours a beautiful amber color with a big puffy head. Lots of carbonation and beautiful layers of lacing.

S: Big and bold malty sweetness. Tons of caramel, hazelnut toffee, and hops. Holy shit I smell hops. Is this really an Oktoberfest brew? Citrus, check, Pine, check. Oh god I can't wait to taste.

T: Yep. Surly rules. This beer alone is reason enough for BA to name them brewery of the year. This is your typical Oktoberfest brew on steroids. The malty sweetness is there right from the start. Tons of nutty caramel sweetness that alone would be the makings of a great brew. But wait! This is Surly, and we all know that they don't settle for great. They hopped the hell out of this one to put it on the next level. Pine and grapefruit can both be noted. I have never loved Oktoberfest soooo much.

M: Nice and medium bodied. Soo drinkable. I loved this brew.

D: Can after can I could pound this one.

Overall: Ever since objectivemonkey sent over the Surly brews I have been getting Surly. I have to admit that I saved this one for last as I tend to lean toward the hoppy brews. Being a fest beer I expected pure malt. I have never been so wrong in my life. They have taken an Oktoberfest brew and made it sooo much more. Hops and malts are both noted in pure balance. I profess there is not a greater fest brew in the world. Surly could hang their hat on this one. Yet there are sooo many others. Furious, Bender, Cynic, and dare I say DARKNESS. I see why BA voted them best. Break out the parkas honey I want to move to Minnesota!

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Photo of ncvbc
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful amber in color with good carbonation and thick lacing down the glass. Smell is super fresh hops mixed with a sweet malt and spicy rye. Taste is much of the same. Definitely overly hopped for the style but I love it as a hop head. Somewhat of a floral hop character and the rye is definitely adding some spice to the mix. Somewhat of a bready sweet malt flavor in the middle. Slightly dry to finish off...like I said, hoppy. Mouthfeel is nice with a slight tingle from the carbonation. Some bitterness and a little oily texture on the tongue. I could drink this all day. In fact, I regret only having this one. Might have to seek it out again before it's too late...

Thanks, tayner!

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Photo of ryantupy
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can. "beer in a can for a stein"
Pours a nice hazy amber color with a nice tan frothy head. Smells of hops with notes of citrus and a nice sweet malty backdrop. Its tastes great! Nice a hoppy with a great citrus sweet malt character. This is a great medium bodied beer that has a ncie carbonation level to balance out the flavors. Great beer

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Photo of kenito799
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured into a pilsener glass. Thanks to tizzod for the midwest beer fest Thankgiving 2007!

Pours a lovely clear medium amber, small head raised and recedes to a ring.

Wonderful citrus and pine hop aromas waft forth, immediately this brew declares itself as not your usual Oktoberfest. Crisp and highly carbonated, tangy and delicious. The tart and complex hop flavors really dominate here, to delicious although style-clashing effect. The malt definitely keeps to the background--or rather, the dry and tangy rye malt is th emajor player. The effect is a delicious, highly drinkable, crisp, dry ale with a long bitter, flavorful finish. I love it, whatever it is.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received Surly Fest in a trade with tavernjef
16oz can, served in a pint glass.

A - hazy, orange/amber color with a tan head that flattened out to a layer, leaving a lot of tiny bubble lace.

S - citrus hop, rye, and sweet malt aromas.

T - sweet malt and rye taste upfront, hop bitterness with a dry finish.

M - medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - very different, very drinkable.

Final Note: I've never had a marzen with this much hop flavor. Good beer for a Hophead Fest.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can. Pours a slightly hazy copper color. Thick foamy off white head. Great head retention, and a good deal of sticky lace clinging to the glass.

Floral, spicy aroma, some rye thrown in for the senses. A bit toasty and caramel in the nose as well.

Bready malt flavor, with a good deal of spicy rye, without being overwhelming. Floral bitterness. A bit on the hoppy side. Finishes dry.

Nice full mouthfeel, with just enough carbonation. Certainly a different version of a marzen, but enjoyable.

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Photo of Floydster
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 ounce can also received from Faro in a trade as an extra, thank you giving me the chance to try this seasonal beer from the brewing geniuses at Surly

Poured into my huge Bell's tankard withn amber color that had a dark orange tint, it had a two inch white head that was lumpy and did not settle for about five minutes, left average lacing during the forty-five minutes I was drinking this

Smell was dominated by rye, wow, this was one of the strongest smelling beers in that respect I have ever encountered, got even stronger later on, also some toffee and caramel but could barely tell because the rye was so strong

Taste was dryer when it was cold and got progressively sweeter as the beer warmed, could taste the rye more at the beginning, later on I got a lot of roasted malt and sweetness, could definitely tell this one was dry hopped and it was surprising to know that only one variety was used, the dry finish made this one break out of the typical mold of marzen brews, nicely balanced throughout and offered a somewhat bitter aftertaste, mostly liked how this one had the dry rye flavor

Lots of carbonation and a decent body, taste did not last as long as I had hoped

Could drink another few cans of this, very smooth and goes down easy, not heavy and it has a relatively low ABV, could drink these while they are colder a lot easier interestingly, I recommend this during your next Octoberfest celebration

This one rounded out my tasting of the Surly beers that are available in cans, this one was probably my least favorite of the four, but still better than a lot of beer out there, they are slowly becoming one of my favorite brweries

Now, can somebody just hook me up with a bottle of Darkness when the 15th rolls around next month, please?

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Photo of happygnome
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a dark orangish color with about an inch anda half of white head that doesnt dissapear too fast but when it does it leaves a lot of lacing around the edge of the glass
s: citrus hops, grapefruity and orangy, nice. hints of the sweet malts but plent of hops
t: starts witha bready maly flavor quickly followed by sour and bitter lemon and orange hop flavors, the sweet malts are deffinatly dominated by the bitter hops
m: medium bodied beer with average amount of carbonation

overall, i really enjoyed this, surly never really follows the style specs, always tending to be much more aggressively hopped

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Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber/orangeish. Huge off white head that lasted for most of the pint. Mouthfeel is surprisingly thick (a theme with Surly, apparently), and this is quite drinkable.

Taste is remarkably complex for an oktoberfest beer. Tangerine, floral hop notes, orange, and ... papaya/mango? Smell is a bit more simple, with floral hops dominating.

Very good.

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Photo of Viggo
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Jenn for lugging cans of this back from Minnesota for us.

Pours a clear golden/amber, thick white head forms, settles to a thin layer, leaves a ton of lacing. Smell is great, nice bready malts, grain, toast, floral/apricot, light citrus hops, different take on a marzen but I like it. Taste is similar, nice and malty, toasted bread, grain, caramel, wheat, some floral and citrus hops, touch of tangerine, very clean balanced finish, solid bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, super refreshing, very smooth and easy to drink. Different kind of marzen but shows up anything from Germany in my mind. I could certainly drink many steins of this. Thanks Jenn!!!

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Photo of bennetj17
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper, thin foam with decent retention creating a hint of lace. Mild carbonation. Grassy hop aroma with light citrus twang. Light sweetness from the malt, fairly enticing smell overall.

Tangy malt flavor accentuated by the citrus hops, it comes out pretty bitter in the finish. There is also a nice toasty dryness giving it a well-rounded balance. Light body but strong enough carbonation for some light foam/creaminess on the palate.

This is a much more hopped up version of this style which was quite enjoyable considering most of of the time you get the same old thing from an Oktoberfest. Non-traditional but recommended to those who like hop flavor...

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Photo of younger35
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Received a can of this from a trade with mnstorm99. Loved Bender and Furious quite a bit so I’m pretty excited to try this puppy. Says “Bier For A Stein, From A Can”, so obviously I have to drink it out of my Czechvar Czech Lager stein. Classy!

Appearance- Pours a hazy dark yellowish orange with a nice big one finger foamy white head. Leaves a nice cap and collar along with plenty of lacing.
Smell- Very crisp and clean with a lot of super fresh American citrus hops. Slightly grapefruity with hints of orange zest. A bit of raw bready grain (rye?) and slight sugar sweetness.
Taste- Starts with a nice grainy, malt profile (I’m assuming is rye) that gives way to an aggressive hop. More than you’d expect from a Märzen. There is a not a lot of sweetness as the bitterness is clearly the winner in the battle of malt and hop. A very mellowed orange is present with a slight lemon zest aftertaste. This all may sound kind of awkward together, but trust me, it’s awesome!
Mouthfeel- Fairly thin with a bit of slick oiliness and a fairly aggressive carbonation.
Drinkability- I’m not sure how to say it but this is about as drinkable as they come. It’s so crisp and clean and goes down so easy. The alcohol isn’t staggering high so it would make a great session brew for those long Oktoberfest nights. Thanks again to mnstorm99 for the opportunity!

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Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep copper....nice white lacing along the glass as you drink it.

S-Great aroma....Very fresh floral hops with some mild spicy notes (perhaps from the rye)....this really smells fantastic.

T-Surly doesn't brew along styles so I'm not going to get into the big "is this an ofest or not debate"...what I will say to give you an idea of what this tastes like is this reminds me a lot of a tasty beefed up english style pale ale....great floral, grassy, earthy hop impression with a nice backbone of spicy rye malt...

M-Very clean and easy drinking. Thanks to BigHugey for toting 10 of this up to my place...I will need all 10 to satisfy my desire for drinking more of this beer...amazingly clean finish...medium bodied..

D-I know there are mixed opinions on this beer. I am rating it as a beer and not an ofest. As a beer it is outstanding. Its the kind of beer I wouldn't mind packing my fridge with and reaching for every day. I love the hop flavor of this and the spicy maltiness complements it perfectly....I like Furious and that has its place too but I feel this is a better beer overall. I'm extremely impressed.

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SurlyFest from Surly Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 889 ratings.
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